Organic Consumers Association

Campaigning for health, justice, sustainability, peace, and democracy

Right-to-Know Activists Drop $2,000 on Senate Floor

Protesters Oppose DARK Act, Money in Politics, and Support Mandatory On-Package GMO Labeling

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 6, 2016

CONTACT: Adam Eidinger (202) 744-2671 GMO@Occupy-Monsanto.com, Alexis Baden-Mayer, Organic Consumers Association (202) 744-0853  Alexis@OrganicConsumers.org, Gene Etic  (202) 733-4640 NoDarkAct@Occupy-Monsanto.com, Katherine Paul, Organic Consumers Association (207) 653-3090 katherine@organicconsumers.org

WASHINGTON, DC - Senators Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) are pushing an industry supported bill that is known as the DARK Act because it would "Deny Americans the Right to Know" about foods produced with genetic engineering ("GMOs"). The DARK Act would replace Vermont’s comprehensive GMO labeling law with future federal regulations riddled with loopholes and conveyed through discriminatory technologies. The DARK Act has no enforcement mechanisms, so the labeling scheme would essentially be voluntary. Advocates are demanding mandatory on-package information about GMOs. They want Vermont's law to stand and for corporations to stop trying to buy legislation to overturn it.

The right-to-know advocates dumped over $2,000 on to the Senate floor to highlight the fact that Senators who received money from Monsanto and other agribusinesses are voting against the interests of the 9 out of 10 people who support GMO labels.  

The Organic Consumers Association conducted an analysis of the June 29 Senate vote to move forward on the DARK Act using campaign finance data from OpenSecrets.org. The average agribusiness contribution for “yes” voters ($867,518) was two-and-a-half times more than the average for "no" voters ($350,877).   

“When Congress moves to crush the will of 9 out of 10 Americans because they need companies like Monsanto to fund their campaigns, you know our democracy is in real trouble," said Alexis Baden-Mayer, political director of the Organic Consumers Association who participated in the action. "The corporate lobbyists are totally corrupt. Even the Organic Trade Association has been pressured to support this legislation by board members JM Smucker Co., WhiteWave, Pete & Gerry's and UNFI. These companies have organic brands, but they also sell a lot of GMOs that they don't want to label."

"Congress continues to let special interest money decide the fate of GMO labeling, instead of doing what consumers clearly want", says Errol Schweizer, a former Whole Foods executive. "Surveys consistently show 80-90% support for clear, concise labeling, exactly what thousands of products are already doing to comply with Vermont. And consumers are voting with their dollars to make Organic and non-GMO the fastest growth trends in the food industry. The Dark Act will not only confuse customers, it will jeopardize the labeling and market growth of non-GMO products, and by extension Organics as well."

This is the second time GMO labeling advocates have done a money drop to protest the corrupting influence of corporations over our democracy. In 2013, MSNBC covered a protest similar to today's: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MWdegc6RgGA

For more information on why Senators should oppose the DARK Act, please visit: http://www.organicconsumers.org

The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) is an online and grassroots non-profit 501(c)3 public interest organization campaigning for health, justice, and sustainability. The Organic Consumers Fund is a 501(c)4 allied organization of the Organic Consumers Association, focused on grassroots lobbying and legislative action. Visit: https://www.organicconsumers.org/ 

Organizational Bio: The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) is an online and grassroots non-profit 501(c)3 public interest organization advocating on behalf of more than one million consumers for health, justice, and sustainability. The Organic Consumers Fund is a 501(c)4 allied organization of the Organic Consumers Association, focused on grassroots lobbying and legislative action.

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